ECO 620 “Studies in Building Information Modeling” Course Syllabus

Course Description:

This course provides graduate students with an opportunity to deepen their studies in Building Information Modeling (BIM). In addition to learning about concepts from BCT 420 (enhanced 3D modeling skills and an introduction into Autodesk Revit and SketchUp), students in ECO 620 must independently research various BIM-related topics, present and use them. Students are required to complete an in-depth term project in which they explore advanced BIM topics like building energy modeling, estimating and scheduling, parametric modeling and the like.

Course Components:

Students enrolled in ECO 620 “Studies in Building Information Modeling” need to satisfy the following course components:

1 – Complete all of the requirements for BCT 420 (70% of course grade)

This includes attending all of the classes, completing readings, quizzes, projects, assignments and the term project. The term project must be at an appropriate level for a graduate student and must extend beyond the requirements for BCT 420 (see also #3).

2 – Research and present to the class on a BIM topic (15% of course grade)

Get access to the following book and any other relevant BIM resources (see the BCT 420 syllabus for more and check the web):

  • BIM Handbook / Eastman, Teicholz, Sacks, Liston / Wiley — An excellent BIM reference with many case-study examples — You have free access to the e-book version.
  • Optional: BIM and Construction Management: Proven Tools, Methods, and Workflows / Hardin / Sybex — A BIM reference with a focus on construction management — You have free access to the e-book version.

Research one of the following topics (one student each) and:

  1. Summarize the topic in a short (approx. 5-page) report (include a reference list and format it properly).
  2. Prepare a 10-minute PPT presentation on this topic that you will give to the entire class.


  • BIM for building design (How do we design buildings using BIM software? Benefits, drawbacks? BIM-model ownership?)
  • BIM for construction management (How does BIM fit into construction delivery methods? What is IPD and Lean Construction?)
  • BIM for preconstruction (Can BIM make preconstruction easier? Estimating? Building analysis and optimization?)
  • BIM for construction (How can BIM help the construction process? Clash detection? Constructability? Trade coordination and scheduling?)
  • BIM for sustainability (How can we build greener with BIM?)
  • BIM and facility management (How is FM currently done and how can BIM change that approach?)
  • If all other topics are taken: Which BIM software is out there? (Show a thorough overview of BIM software and explain what they do.)

Due date: The presentation is approximately after the fourth week of classes. Have the report ready by then, too.

3 – Complete an enhanced BIM-related term project (and present to the class at the end of the course if time permits) (15% of course grade)

This can be (but isn’t limited to):

  • Recreate a campus building as a Revit model.
  • Do a thorough solar study. Use Revit or other analysis software to analyze insolation levels on and (if available) in your building, e.g. for solar-panel siting.
  • Create several complex parametric family components and use them parametrically. This could be a facade panel that modifies itself based on an embedded formula.
  • Create a complete material estimate for a sample building where you separate all of the materials (sheet materials, volumetric materials, lumber, furniture etc.) and produce a usable estimate. You can explore working with estimating software here.
  • Perform a LEED analysis of your final project. Find parameters that are relevant to LEED accounting and extract them from your BIM model.
  • Create a correct site analysis including prevailing winds, insolation, site topography and other relevant features.
  • Get SketchUp’s Pro version and use its Attributes and Dynamic Components to create a material estimate or any other data-driven result.
  • Create a 4D simulation based on a sample building.

Where necessary, additional literature may be required to complete these tasks. Check with the instructor if you have any questions.

Due date: Hand this in with the final project.